Football and upsets go together. Before the opening of any major tournament or league season, there is always the talks of the favorite teams to emerge champions. These teams usually have the best set of players so they are always tipped to be in contention for the prize. On the other hand, there are some teams that are tipped as dark horses or also-rans. They are hardly expected to achieve anything other than fulfilling their obligations as participants in tournaments.
However, these also-rans end up doing the unthinkable thereby sending the world of football into delirium. A recent one is Watford’s 3-0 victory over Liverpool after the reds had gone over 20 games without defeat in the Premier League. There have been many of these upsets in since the inception of the Premier League and we have brought to you the biggest of them.
1. Watford 3-0 Liverpool (2019/2020)
There is hardly any follower of the Premier League who is not aware of Liverpool’s dominance before the lockdown. Till they played Watford at Vicarage Road in gameweek 28 of the season, only Manchester United had taken a point off Jurgen Klopp’s men. Every other team they had blown away including Manchester City. Watford, on the other hand, started the season poorly with Nigel Pearson being their third manager. They, however, did the unthinkable beating the Reds by three goals without conceding any. All thanks to Troy Deeney and Ismaila Sarr.
2. Liverpool 0-1 Barnsley (1997/1998)
Barnsley’s first and only season in the Premier League so far was way back in 1997/1998. They had gained automatic promotion the previous season. They would only last for that one season though as they got relegated but not without pulling off one of EPL’s biggest upsets. An Ashley Ward first-half goal condemned a star-studded Liverpool side to defeat at home and there was nothing Owen and co. could do about it.
3. Bradford City 1-0 Liverpool (1999/2000)
Playing against a team threatened by the drop towards the end of the season is not always a bright prospect. These teams as time has shown are always motivated and ready to cause upsets. Such was Liverpool’s case when they traveled to Bradford on the last day of the 1999/2000 season. They needed to win the game to avoid getting relegated and they did just that by claiming Liverpool’s scalp. David Wetherhall’s 12th minute goal was enough.
4. Arsenal 1-2 Hull City (2008/2009)
There is no way Wenger’s men are escaping being on this list and y’all know why. Arsenal were more competitive than they are now back in 2008. Hull City were newly promoted for the season and they traveled to the Emirates Stadium to face the North London club. Arsenal took the lead via Cesc Fabregas but two second-half goals in the space of four minutes from Geovanni and Daniel Cousin saw Hull leave London with three points.
5. Burnley 1-0 Manchester United (2009/2010)
Burnley have always been in and out of the Premier League but they have found stability in recent seasons thanks to Sean Dyche. The Clarets were newly promoted and faced defending champions Manchester United in August 2009. Owen Coyle’s men obviously had the odds against them but a 19th minute strike from Robbie Blake saw them cause of the major upsets of that season as they defeated Alex Ferguson’s men.
6. Arsenal 2-3 West Brom (2010/2011)
Arsenal’s second entry into our list of Premier League upsets puts them up against West Bromwich Albion. Like Hull City, Roy Hodgson’s men were also newly promoted and had just signed Peter Odemwingie from Lokomotiv Moscow. To the Emirates they went in October of 2010 and in a devastating counter-attacking display stormed into a 3-0 lead. Samir Nasri’s late heroics were not enough as Odemwingie, Jara, and Thomas all got on the scoresheet.
7. Chelsea 0-3 Sunderland (2010/2011)
A tale of defending champions whitewashed by a less fancied opponent. Nedum Onuoha silenced the bridge when he pulled off an unlikely quick feet to give Sunderland the lead deep into the first-half. Chelsea had a team strong enough to respond but Asamoah and Gyan and Danny Welbeck compounded their miseries with two second-half goals. Ancelotti ended up losing his job as Chelsea finished second.
8. Manchester United 2-3 Blackburn Rovers (2011/2012)
Another defending champion that suffered an unlikely defeat. Blackburn spoiled Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday celebration when they defeated his Manchester United team at home. Aiyegbeni’s brace had put Blackburn 2-0 up before Berbatov scored his own brace to bring the game to a stalemate. Blackburn would have the final say with Grant Hanley scored an 80th minute winner. This proved costly as United missed out on the title on goal difference.
9. Chelsea 0-1 QPR (2012/2013)
Festive periods are a good time to expect major upsets in the Premier League. QPR traveled to Stamford Bridge on the second day of 2013 to face Chelsea in a London derby. Chelsea had won their last four games but Rangers stopped them from getting a fifth win courtesy of Shaun Wright-Phillips 78th minute goal. QPR got relegated at the end of the season.
10. Leicester City 5-3 Manchester United (2014/2015)
Before the Foxes pulled off an all-time shock by winning the Premier League in the 2015/2016 season, they did the unthinkable in the previous season. Facing a Manchester United attack that had Van Persie, Falcao and Di Maria, no one gave the newly promoted Leicester City any chance. United were 3-1 up 57 minutes into the game before Leicester scored 4 goals in 21 minutes to send United home empty handed.